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Seeing that food is important to our lives, whether you eat to live or live to eat, it is imperative to have a well-designed kitchen system that will support you and your whole family’s dining needs.

Especially important is the type of material you want to grace your kitchen countertop. Some of us prioritise form over function and hence favour elegant marble, and some of us are huge weekend cooks – we want the stainless steel countertops. Which material is the best for you? It all boils down to the cost, the look and feel of the material, and how often you want to cook. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind when you choose.

What is the best material for your dream kitchen countertop?

GRANITE
Depending on what you like, there are various countertop materials for you to choose from. The popular choice is granite, as this natural stone has plenty of character, with unique grains, colours and customisable finishes.

PROS

Granite is a natural stone, and so every individual slab of granite is unique in its hue, patterning and shading. If you want to admire your kitchen top while cooking, granite flaunts its attractiveness with each slab having its colours and patterns. When properly sealed, it’s one of the most durable options as its heat, scratch, stain and water resistance. According to Marcus from Lian Hin, darker tones are recommended as minimum sealing is needed to prevent water marks and stains.

CONS

The only con with granite is that there are so many options available depending on what colour and patterns that you like, and prices vary for different types of granite. If you choose some of the more exotic slabs, it can be expensive, and many suppliers will charge you for the whole slab even if you just need a small part. Installation can also be expensive. To reduce waste and save money, work with your designer and a supplier to select a slab early and work that slab into your design.

JALAN TARI PIRING by AC Vision Design

QUARTZ
Another good choice will be quartz. Quartz is a composite material that includes other stones such as Caesar Stone, Silestone and Quantum Quartz ground together and bound with an adhesive. Since it is a human-made stone, the final product is more consistent in colour.

KITCHEN by Rezt & Relax

PROS

Quartz is a manufactured product and the manufacturing process allows a much wider range of colours as well as a more uniformed look compared to natural stones such as marble or granite. Furthermore, quartz has the same durability as concrete and granite but does not chip or crack as easily.

Like other hard surface countertop materials, quartz is non-porous, so it resists staining much better than granite, marble and concrete. For cleanliness, a non-porous surface means that it will not harbour bacteria or viruses. No sealing is required. Darker colours are also more matte in their finish.

CONS

The biggest concern for some will be the price. When you get written estimates, expect quartz countertop prices to be much costlier than other countertop materials such as granite and marble. The difference in prices comes from the fact that quartz is a much stronger material compared to granite or marble.

Some homeowners may also prefer the natural look of granite or marble for their home. Finally, quartz is not as resistant to heat as granite, so beware of those hot pots leaving warm patches even when they have long left your kitchen top. Also beware that quartz which has whitish tones will turn yellowish after years of usage.

MARBLE
When we think marble, imagination conjures elegant, old-world hotels with grand chandeliers. A luxurious, opulent material, marble is also another popular choice. A natural stone composed of calcium carbonate; it’s in the same stone family as limestone and travertine.

PROS

With mineral impurities in the stone, marble has many patterns and colours to choose from for your interior design choices. People who like their kitchen surfaces all white will rejoice, as even white (pictured above) can come in a myriad of patterns. The cook in the family will also love the fact that no matter what hot dish is on the countertop, the surface still feels cool to touch.

CONS

You’ll find that marble scratches easily, unlike granite, as it is softer and more porous compared to granite. Acidic foods also can cause etching in the marble. The homeowner that chooses marble must be prepared to use sealant to fill in those gaps.

Image from Shutterstock

TILES
There are some of us who like to keep our roots close to our hearts, or in this case, proudly displayed in our kitchen. Instead of granite or marble, some homeowners opt for tiles, as this look is reminiscent of the 50s where a bar top with tiles is not an uncommon sight.

HDB 5-ROOM HDB – BLK 440B FERNVALE LINK by Atelier Interior

PROS

Tile countertops deliver top-notch durability at bargain prices. If you are handy with your DIY work around the house, you can even try installing tiles yourself. Tile can withstand both heat and knives, so you will not see a scratch or etches in the surface. Coloured tiles can be put together for a café effect, or you can unleash your creativity by painting designs on the tiles.

CONS

However, the maintenance of tiles can be high as grout tends to form after a few years of constant exposure to heat and water. The best way to keep those tiles clean would be to ensure they are stuck together as tightly as possible.

Still Confused? Here’s a quick summary!

GRANITE

QUARTZ

MARBLE

TILES

Costest. $90-$160 per foot runest. $150-$220 per foot runest. $40 – $100 per square footest. $2 – $4 per square foot
Source for cost

solidsurfacesingapore.com

id.com.sg

ceramictilesingapore.com

LookEvery individual slab of granite is unique in its hue, patterns and shading.Humade-made quartz allows a much wider range of colours than in natural stones such as marble or granite. The colors are also more uniform in their hues.With mineral impurities in the stone, marble has a wide range of colours.Painted or drawn on, tiles are versatile in their design. Channel your inner artist and paint on your tiles. If you are handy, you can also try building the countertop on your own!
Water-Resistant

Grout may form after a few years.

Heat-Resistant

Scratch-Resistant

Porosity (Ability to absorb moisture)

High-Porosity

Average Porosity

High-Porosity

Porous. Individual tiles must be stuck together tightly.

Cleanliness

Bacteria-resistant

Bacteria-resistant

Less bacteria-resistant compared to granite and quartz; must be cleaned periodically.

High-Porosity

Requires sealing for gaps

Minimum sealing

Minimum sealing

Minimum sealing

Minimum sealing

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